I am the biggest romantic that I know. I believe in true love, grand romantic gestures, soul mates that stand the test of time. If I don’t have children I am ok with this. If I don’t get married I will feel like I lost out on one of the best experiences that life could ever bestow on me.
But even after writing this declaration, I am here to write a more significant one. I will always pick my career over any man that will enter my life. And I’m going to stop feeling ashamed of that, of that lie frequently stated to people like me who make comments like this. It goes a little something like “relationships are more important than money and accomplishments.”
See, I was given for lack of better words, “a calling” as a child, and this calling has nothing to do with monetary security or stability. I was given the gift of writing – more importantly the passion to pursue writing as more than just a hobby.
In fact if you are the type of person who was given career aspirations at such an early age you almost didn’t even recognize it, you know what I mean. You understand that doing what you adore is not a hobby but instead your livelihood. You understand that nothing could make you happier than work that you love and that you find rewarding. Nothing else can make you feel more like… you.
In the element that I am in when I get to a place where the pen is rushing a mile a minute and my thoughts are finally finding their way to paper I am proud of myself, and I don’t need anyone else to make me that proud.
Because I have been through that phase of linking facets of my happiness, too much of my happiness, to relationships. More fulfillment than I like has come from being a part of a partnership in which I do not have any control over a major component of it – the other person. Often this has gotten me into more trouble than I care to admit.
When I finally made a healthy decision to put my happiness ahead of someone else, I also made the unconscious decision of putting my life ambition before someone I have not even met. I solidified that contentment should only ever come from the one thing in which I do exert control over and that has never lead me astray.
People who are this devoted to their work will recognize that same sentiment and they will be made aware like me that they cannot marry someone who does not understand that, despite how absolutely perfect that person seems.
Because if there ever comes a time when I cannot passionately pursue the career of my dreams, I would lose the fierce independent streak I assume made a man initially attracted to me, and I would lose the respect and attraction for him with his failure to further encourage me.
Some women have been made to feel guilty for this, the idea of pursuing something with so much determination that nothing will steer them away from their target. They are “cut throat.” They are “bitchy.” They are “out of touch with reality.” Make no mistake about it men assert this same level of confidence in their own aspirations, yet whenever a woman picks their career the first reaction is to belittle her by alluding to her “inevitable” change of heart – when she realizes her husband’s dreams are of equal importance to her and it is then she will go out of her way to cater to them as much as she would her own. This is when she stops being “selfish.”
If picking my writing, the possibility of book tours and once in a lifetime opportunities that require a change of address and breakup is selfish, then yes I am selfish. I have been working on my career fifteen years longer than any relationship I could enter into in the next few months.
And the thing is I wouldn’t start a relationship with someone who didn’t understand this and support this. I wouldn’t date someone who would not read my writing or ask me how my latest novel is going. I’d never consider talking to someone who didn’t take it all seriously, who laughed off my grand aspirations.
Of course I would never expect anything less understanding of myself if I met another person similar to me who had that same burning passion for their craft.
A connection between two people is irreplaceable, and I hope it never comes down to one or the other, but if it does I’ll always remember that the pen is my compass. And anyone who knows me at all knows that I am not going to give that up for anyone, because in essence it would be giving up myself.